Pushing with the thumb: powering through wrist extension

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Pushing with the thumb: powering through wrist extension

Postby Blake_T » Sat Apr 17, 2010 1:59 am

one thing that i rarely talk about but probably should is thumb push.

i don't get a lot of thumb push since my hands are so small that i usually have to focus my grip towards just holding on and it's only really on mids/putters with narrow rims that i can get a lot of thumb push. while i don't always do it, i can tell i am doing it when i am throwing well.

while some people focus entirely on thumb pressure when it comes to grip and others don't focus at all on thumb pressure, there's another factor that comes into play that is slightly different than both of these and will assist in applying force to the disc. while thumb pressure assists in leverage during the wrist extension, the other factor is pushing the disc with the thumb.

i haven't come up with a perfect example of exactly how to do this, but here's an idea to try.

take a quarter, place it on a table/flat surface. set up in a way so that your thumb pad presses down on the quarter (in a way that still somewhat approximates your hand position for a throw).

ImageImage

try to fling the quarter with your thumb and make it slide with as much distance/velocity as possible. i would recommend trying both positions above. the first will allow you to work more wrist extension, the second involves more wrist rotation and is still applicable but less representative. you are trying to build a "feel" so either should work, but neither are perfect.

you will probably find that you have to press firmly with the thumb without letting your arm go overly rigid. as you start moving forwards you will probably find to fling it with some good zip (such amazing scientific terminology), your motion will involve increasing pressure the closer to the launch point you get.

garner what you can from this and try to see if it will integrate into your throw.

even if you can't do it with drivers, it is still very applicable on putts and upshots.

if you can do it, you should be able to take advantage of whatever kind of thumb/lock leverage you can and help transfer more power to the disc during the wrist extension. basically, this should also give you some kind of idea of what type of "clench" you will need to build to during the throw and the timing of it. basically... you don't "get strong" until late, but that strength should build up as you get closer to the rip.
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Re: Pushing with the thumb: powering through wrist extension

Postby Aaron_D » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:40 am

Correct me if Im wrong but it seems like with an above the seam grip your thumb is in a worse position to create this leverage. With your hand more over the disc, creating this pressure seems more natural. Also, this seems like it would be easier with a nose up orientation during wrist extension. Both of these seem bad, but this is all very interesting and Ill definitely see if focusing on the thumb push yeilds any gains.
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Re: Pushing with the thumb: powering through wrist extension

Postby Blake_T » Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:34 am

Correct me if Im wrong but it seems like with an above the seam grip your thumb is in a worse position to create this leverage. With your hand more over the disc, creating this pressure seems more natural. Also, this seems like it would be easier with a nose up orientation during wrist extension.


you are correct on all except the nose up thing. above the seam grips use more palm to eject the disc rather than thumb leverage to fling the edge coming around the pivot, the above the seam grip gives maximum finger strength but less pivot leverage.

the nose up extension only happens if you don't keep the wrist down.

as i said, this isn't a perfect example but it does provide a feeling for timing of grip pressure: you won't want to be really forcing it until it is nearing the ejection point.
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Re: Pushing with the thumb: powering through wrist extension

Postby patdabunny » Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:40 pm

Your idea about grip pressure is completely correct, Blake. I found today after playing my first actual round that an increased grip pressure (a la USAnarchy's post to keep the disc between the ring and middle fingers) allows for a better launch. I was getting close to 400' nearly effortlessly.

I'm working on increasing my pinch grip strength and should be better in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I shot a -11 (47) at Charlie Vettiner Park, which is a ~1040 round! I appreciate the help! I wouldn't have been able to do it without your advice.

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Re: Pushing with the thumb: powering through wrist extension

Postby JHern » Sun Apr 18, 2010 4:58 pm

Blake, I understand exactly what you're talking about. Remember I told you about that local dude's grip, where he puts the disc's parting line into the seams at the beginning of all 4 fingers (where the fingers come out of the palm), and curls his finger tips around under the rim? His palm is far off the flight plate, and the thumb is placed down with a lot of pressure, which really accentuates the thumb push. He is a 400' thrower, even though he keeps his arm straight through the throw, thus getting little or nothing from elbow extension. To keep the nose down with this grip, he has to pull through very low, near waist level. His power comes almost entirely from this kind of thumb push and powering through the wrist extension.

I learned a great deal about grip, nose down, pulling through low, and wrist extension by thinking about this guy's throwing style, and trying it out myself a little bit. Not that I would ever want to throw like that, but after seeing how it all works with this extreme end-member grip I was able to understand a lot of these other concepts and make adjustments to my own throw. I would recommend that people try this out sometime in order to understand the tradeoffs between pulling through low vs high, wrist down vs wrist up orientation, and nose down vs nose up results in the throw (respectively).

With respect to applying thumb pressure from above, USAnarchy's grip is actually something intermediate between this dude's grip and the more conventional power grip. In the conventional power grip, the parting line is seated in the "life line" (in palm reader nomenclature, runs from the wrist to between the thumb and index finger). For USAnarchy's grip, the parting line is (at least initially) between the middle and ring finger, but still parallel to the life line. So you get the benefit of getting your palm off from the flight plate and being able to apply more thumb down force, but without changing the orientation of the disc so much that you have to throw at waist level to keep the nose down.
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Re: Pushing with the thumb: powering through wrist extension

Postby black udder » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:21 pm

@JHern - back on the old Innova site, they had an animated graphic of a throw and it was keeping the elbow straight. They were saying to use it as a lever (I believe - it's been years). Which would mean they were stressing wrist extension for power. The alternative was the bent elbow technique.
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Re: Pushing with the thumb: powering through wrist extension

Postby Bradley Walker » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:48 pm

I have had to leave my elbow cocked for the entire throw. There appears to be no advantage whatsoever to opening the elbow at all. It appears that the big hit is actually in the wrist going from soft with a loose grip to straight with the thumb bearing down on the index finger with all my strength at the point of the wrist locking straight and then powering through the lock a few inches past the violent rip.

It is basically, as I see it the Bruce Lee "Kung Fu" punch idea. The hand lashes out loosely and closes into a tight fist at the last second and the force is focused at a point several inches past the point of impact. Go to YouTube and you can find videos of Bruce talking about it.
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Re: Pushing with the thumb: powering through wrist extension

Postby USAnarchy » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:33 am

JHern wrote:Blake, I understand exactly what you're talking about. Remember I told you about that local dude's grip, where he puts the disc's parting line into the seams at the beginning of all 4 fingers (where the fingers come out of the palm), and curls his finger tips around under the rim? His palm is far off the flight plate, and the thumb is placed down with a lot of pressure, which really accentuates the thumb push. He is a 400' thrower, even though he keeps his arm straight through the throw, thus getting little or nothing from elbow extension. To keep the nose down with this grip, he has to pull through very low, near waist level. His power comes almost entirely from this kind of thumb push and powering through the wrist extension.

I learned a great deal about grip, nose down, pulling through low, and wrist extension by thinking about this guy's throwing style, and trying it out myself a little bit. Not that I would ever want to throw like that, but after seeing how it all works with this extreme end-member grip I was able to understand a lot of these other concepts and make adjustments to my own throw. I would recommend that people try this out sometime in order to understand the tradeoffs between pulling through low vs high, wrist down vs wrist up orientation, and nose down vs nose up results in the throw (respectively).

With respect to applying thumb pressure from above, USAnarchy's grip is actually something intermediate between this dude's grip and the more conventional power grip. In the conventional power grip, the parting line is seated in the "life line" (in palm reader nomenclature, runs from the wrist to between the thumb and index finger). For USAnarchy's grip, the parting line is (at least initially) between the middle and ring finger, but still parallel to the life line. So you get the benefit of getting your palm off from the flight plate and being able to apply more thumb down force, but without changing the orientation of the disc so much that you have to throw at waist level to keep the nose down.


haha. Its not really my grip unless Avery Jenkins does not grip his disc that way. its my close approximation of what his grip looks and acts like from pictures, video, and local Pros who have talked with Avery about his grip.

But to confirm what JHern said, it really is the best of both worlds. I get really great thumb pressure, and i can pull through high or low and still have nose down.

Im not sure what grip Nikko uses, but to me it looks like the 4 finger seam grip that JHern describes. He pulls alot of shots through on a low line and compensates by using upward trajectories to get his height.
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Re: Pushing with the thumb: powering through wrist extension

Postby bcsst26 » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:44 am

Bradley Walker wrote:I have had to leave my elbow cocked for the entire throw. There appears to be no advantage whatsoever to opening the elbow at all. It appears that the big hit is actually in the wrist going from soft with a loose grip to straight with the thumb bearing down on the index finger with all my strength at the point of the wrist locking straight and then powering through the lock a few inches past the violent rip.

It is basically, as I see it the Bruce Lee "Kung Fu" punch idea. The hand lashes out loosely and closes into a tight fist at the last second and the force is focused at a point several inches past the point of impact. Go to YouTube and you can find videos of Bruce talking about it.


Do you have any exercises for this?
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Re: Pushing with the thumb: powering through wrist extensio

Postby douglas78 » Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:06 pm

I know this is an old thread, but I had one question for you Blake. In the exercise with the quarter should the quarter be shot out across the table or should I try and keep it pressed under the thumb while doing it?

I have to say, the minute I applied this to my drives I gained back 50' I lost this past year! :)

This combined with remembering to squeeze hard at the end.. :roll:

Thanks Blake!!!
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Re: Pushing with the thumb: powering through wrist extensio

Postby Stringbean » Tue May 07, 2013 10:53 pm

I believe that the goal is to shoot the quarter across the table. Does Blake always stop posting over winter/spring?
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